The Invisible Limb at basis, Frankfurt

September 2014
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Central to the exhibition is a new film commissioned by basis e.V. bearing the same title as the exhibition.

This work is the third in a series of films exploring the role of gender in aspects of labour and their representation. The Invisible Limb has as its starting point the practice of Frankfurt-based artist Charlotte Posenenske, known for her rigorous development of a minimalist formal language, who died in 1985. Posenenske stopped working as an artist in 1968 in order to study the social sciences and engage in direct social action. Irish artist Cynthia Moran, born in 1930, the same year as Posenenske appears in the film as a sculptor at the other end of the spectrum: someone who has continued to work as an artist well into old age, against all odds. In this, she acts as a kind of unexpected doppelgänger for the deceased artist, one of a series of doubles in the film. A spoken text addresses Posenenske directly. Translated into German and delivered by Amanda Elena Conrad, an artist of Browne’s generation, this voice questions and speculates about some of the mysterious aspects of art production that seem to defy logic, even when apparently ruthlessly rational. The film was shot in part on location at the Giant’s Causeway, a coastal area of Northern Ireland formed by volcanic activity and consisting of tens of thousands of interlocking hexagonal basalt columns. As Moran observes of this remarkable natural landscape, “It’s very mysterious how it’s so thought out, so designed.” Images of replication and artistic production abound in the film, in the absence of reproductive labour.

The work corpus consists of framed dedications and acknowledgements from publications in the social and political sciences, history, economics, feminism and philosophy. It illustrates the aspect of the visibility and invisibility of the contributions of those who provide essential support but are not the authors of the works in question. Conceived as a work-series-in-progress, corpus is on view in the exhibition for the first time. It is a comprehensive compilation of references to mostly unknown people and, ultimately, a condensed assemblage of speculative quantities and qualities in respect to hidden textual collaboration and supporters: minor or overlooked characters such as parents, partners, friends, even animal companions. corpus, one might say, is a transparency of non-visibility: through its brief commentaries or just the naming of names, it directs attention at an activity that has been eclipsed by the visibility of the product, the book, and the author.

– Felix Ruhöfer, curator basis

The Invisible Limb

HD video projection, 19’30”

Screenings on the hour at 20 minute intervals

Directed, written and edited by Sarah Browne

Featuring Cynthia Moran

Cinematography: Kate McCullough

Camera: Kate McCullough, Sarah Browne

Voiceover: Amanda Elena Conrad

Composition: Alma Kelliher

Choreography: Fearghus Ó Conchúir

Research assistants: Christin Müller, Laura Wünsche

Archives: Hessischer Rundfunk, WDR Mediagroup

Translation: Petra Gaines

Colourist: John Beattie

Special thanks to Burkhard Brunn, Jessica Foley, Natascha Reigger, Fire Station Artist Studios, Dublin and Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt